Study Guide

The Secret Miracle What's Up With the Title?

By Jorge Luis Borges

What's Up With the Title?

"The Secret Miracle." Sounds like the name of a Nicholas Sparks book, right? Well, if you're looking for tear-jerking beach reading, you've come to the wrong place.

Let's take a look at why Borges may have chosen this title. First things first: the title gives us a hint about the story's plot. But it's not that easy: the miracle that takes place in this story isn't the kind that gets the attention of the local news channels. This isn't a Madonna-appearing-on-the-side-of-a-building type of scenario, with vendors selling postcards and bottles of water. No, this miracle happens in secret. In fact, this miracle is so secret that only one person experiences it.

So is the suspension of time in this story a miracle, or is Jaromir just crazy? To put it another, fancier way, can time can be subjective? Can one person experience time in a completely different way from everyone else around him? When you think about that little brain-teaser, you realize that the title sheds light on one of the story's most important themes, subjectivity (which we explore under the heading "Versions of Reality" – check it out).

The "miracle" in this story's title refers to the subjective experience of time, but it can also be an allusion to the act of writing (another theme – woo! – under "Literature and Writing"). In the end, it's the writing itself that is secret and miraculous: after all, it occurs in Jaromir's head and is never to be shared with or understood by anybody else.

(Full disclosure: we are super smart here at Shmoop, but we're not the only ones. Writer Daniel Alarcón has seized upon this idea of writing as a secret miracle, and borrowed the phrase as the title for his new book about how authors do what they do. For your reading pleasure, we've included a link to a review of his book, The Secret Miracle, in our "Best of the Web" section.)